Mayor Mariupol says more than 10,000 civilians were killed in the siege

LVV, Ukraine (AB) – The Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Monday said more than 10,000 civilians had been killed and more than 20,000 during a Russian siege of his city. Streets. “

In a phone call to the Associated Press on Monday, Mayor Vadim Boychenko said Russian forces had brought mobile cremation equipment to the city to dispose of the bodies, and accused Russian forces of refusing to allow humanitarian convoys into the city in an attempt to cover up the massacre. .

Russian forces have taken several bodies to a large shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators, Boychenko said.

“Mobile cremations have come in the form of trucks: you open it, there’s a pipe inside, and these bodies are burned,” he said.

The mayor’s comments came as Russia claimed to have destroyed several Ukrainian air-defense systems in what appeared to be a renewed drive to gain air supremacy and take up arms ahead of the wider new offensive expected in the east.

During one of the strikes, Moscow claimed to have hit four S-300 launchers near the central city of Dniebro, all of which were provided by an unnamed European country. Slovakia presented such an arrangement to Ukraine last week but denied that it had been destroyed. Russia has previously announced two strikes elsewhere in similar organizations.

Failure to take full control of Ukraine’s skies could limit Moscow’s ability to provide air defense to ground troops, limit their advance and inflict heavy casualties.

Their offensive was repulsed in many parts of the country, and Russian forces relied heavily on bombing cities – a strategy that flattened many urban areas and killed thousands.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of committing atrocities, including a massacre outside the city of Pucha in Pucha, airstrikes on hospitals and a missile attack on a train station last week that killed at least 57 people.

In Pucha on Monday, excavation work resumed from the mass grave in the church.

Galina Fioktistova waited for hours in the cold and rain hoping to identify her 50-year-old son who was shot a month ago, but eventually he went home for a little warmth. “He’s still there,” said Andre, her surviving son.

In Mariupol, about 120,000 civilians are in dire need of food, water, warmth and communications, the mayor said.

Only residents past Russian “filtration camps” are being evacuated from the city, Boychenko said. Improved prisons have been set up for those who have not mastered “filtration”, while at least 33,000 have been taken to Russia or the separatist territory in Ukraine, he said.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Agency estimates that nearly two – thirds of Ukrainian children have fled their homes in the six weeks since Russia’s invasion, and that 142 children have been killed and 229 injured. Chances are very high.

Elsewhere, Austrian President Carl Niehammer said on Monday that he had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow for “very direct, open and difficult” talks.

In a statement issued by his office, Nehmar said his primary message to Putin was that “this war must end because only both sides in the war can be defeated.” Nehmmer said he had also raised the issue of war crimes committed by the Russian military and that those responsible would be “accounted for.”

Austria is a member of the European Union and has supported sanctions against Russia by 27 countries, although it has so far opposed Russia’s suspension of gas supplies. The country is militarily neutral and not a member of NATO.

Among other developments, the head of the separatist rebel government in Donetsk said that Ukrainian forces had lost control of the port of Mariupol.

“As for the port of Mariupol, it is now under our control,” the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Bushil, told Russian state television, according to Russian news agencies. The request could not be confirmed immediately.

The mayor said the struggle continues.

“It’s hard, but our heroic army endures,” Boychenko said. “There are fights in the harbor. Yesterday, our warriors knocked down multi-level equipment and, accordingly, rejected the infantry.

Russia has appointed an experienced general to lead its renewed drive in the eastern Donbass region, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014 and declaring independence. Both sides are digging into what a catastrophic war would be.

Retired British General Richard Barnes, co-chairman of the UK-based Universal Defense & Security Solutions, said Russian forces would try to encircle the Donbass area north, south and east.

The land in that part of Ukraine is flat, with more open space and fewer trees – so the Ukrainian ambush tactics used around Kiev may be less successful, Barnes said.

“As a result, it’s well balanced now,” Barnes said. If the Russians learn from their previous defeats, accumulate more power, better integrate their air force with ground forces and improve their logistics, then “they may eventually begin to sink the Ukrainian positions, but it will be a war of great destruction.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky appealed for more Western aid, saying his forces needed heavy firepower. In a video address to South Korean lawmakers on Monday, Zelenskyy demanded equipment specifically for firing Russian missiles.

But those weapons could be increasingly under attack as we watch Russia change its balance in the 6-week war.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday that the army had used four cruise missiles to destroy four missiles in the southern suburbs of Dinibro. He said the army had also attacked such organizations in the Mykolayiv and Kharkiv regions.

The Russian claims could not be verified independently.

The Pentagon has said it has no evidence to support Russia’s claims. A senior U.S. defense official said Russia carried out an airstrike on Sunday at the airport in Dniebro, destroying some equipment, but the United States said it saw no sign of the air-defense system being dismantled.

Slovakia’s prime minister’s spokeswoman Lubika Janikova denied on Monday that the S – 300 system sent to Ukraine had been destroyed. She said no other claim was true.

After their advance on Kiev was thwarted by staunch Ukrainian guards, there are questions about the ability of weak and depressed Russian forces to capture multiple bases.

As a result of the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles and artillery, Ukraine has already repulsed several attacks by Russian forces forming Donbass in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the British Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Western military analysts say Russia’s offensive is increasingly focusing on the territory of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, extending as far north as Kersan.

A fire broke out in a residential area in the Kharkiv region on Monday afternoon. The Associated Press saw firefighters extinguishing the blaze and testing victims following the attack, and found at least five people dead, including a child.

Earlier on Monday, Kharkiv regional governor Ole Sinyehubov said 11 people had been killed in Russian shelling in the past 24 hours.

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